One of the most influential musicians of the 20th century was David Bowie, who pushed the boundaries of music with an innovative style that would inspire those who came after him. Bowie made four appearances on Saturday Night Live before his death in 2016, and during one appearance, actor David Spade denied the musician a request to change roles with him for a skit.
During an episode of the Fly on the Wall podcast, which Spade hosts with another SNL alum, Dana Carvey, the pair discussed Bowie's 1991 appearance on SNL. Bowie was a musical guest with Tin Machine in an episode hosted by Macaulay Culkin, who was 11.
Spade wrote a bit where he was to portray a "stops you because he thinks they're better than you" receptionist, and Bowie would play himself. Spade received a message that he was to call Bowie at his hotel ASAP. Spade stated that he called him, Bowie answered, and he thought, "It's f---ing Bowie!" Bowie would argue that while the skit was "f--king funny," playing himself is something everyone has already seen.
"This is so f---ing funny. This is exactly my life and these people I see. One tweak: Can I play the receptionist? That's the funnier part."- David Bowie
Spade pled his case that he created the receptionist, hoping it would become a recurring character. Knowing how SNL works, Bowie replied, what if the skit doesn't get on the show? And sadly, Bowie was right; the sketch wasn't picked up for the show, and Spade didn't appear in the entire episode.
Bowie was gracious, even though Spade stood his ground, and during the goodbye's at the end of the show, he said, "Hey, sorry, man, I get what was going on, and I shouldn't have been a little chilly about it."
Below is the performance by Tin Machine on the episode. Tin Machine was formed in 1988 with Bowie on lead vocals, sax, and guitar, Reeves Gabrels on guitar and vocals, Tony Fox Sales on bass and vocals, and Hunt Sales on drums and vocals. The band recorded two studio and one live album and, by 2012, had sold two million albums. The band would dissolve in 1992, with Bowie returning to his solo career. He stated that Tin Machine helped revitalize his career.
You can listen the Fly on the Wall with Dana Carvey and David Spade episode below with special guest Will Forte. (*Note: this interview was recorded before the SAG-AFTRA strike took effect)
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